Sony recently released details on their new shoulder-mount XDCAM, the PMW-400. The camera includes three 2/3-inch-type FullHD Exmor CMOS sensors, giving it terrific low-light sensitivity. Plus, it has interchangeable lens capabilities, HD/SD-SDI and HDMI, and the ability to use multiple formats and bit rates. In a world of REDs and Blackmagic Cinema Cameras, is this camera necessary? Absolutely
Even as DSLRs, cinema cameras like the RED EPIC and Blackmagic Pocket Cam, and similar units become more and more popular, shoulder-mount cameras like the PMW-400 are still terrific for ENG (electronic news gathering), run-and-gun shooting, documentaries and more.
Long battery life, easy portability, multiple frame rates (1080p at 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p; 720p at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p; and SD NTSC and PAL), and long-recording times via SxS cards (up to two) make this perfect for news videographers and reality shooters.
Another big advantage of the PMW-400 is the flexibility to select multiple recording formats and bit rates, which is great for pretty much any production, whether you’re going to disc (Blu-ray or DVD), broadcast, digital download or web via YouTube, Vimeo, etc. These include XAVC (up to 100 Mbps), MPEG HD422 (up to 50 Mbps), MPEG HD (up to 35 Mbps), MPEG IMX (up to 50 Mbps), and DVCAM in an MXF file for SD capture (up to 25 Mbps).
The PMW-400 comes standard with a viewfinder and a 3.5-inch QHD color LCD, with resolution of 960 x 540. There are also numerous accessories and add-ons, such as an AC adapter, lenses, remote control, additional SxS cards, an SxS card reader, more batteries, tripod adapter, USB WiFi adapter, and more.
A key accessory shooters and producers or interviewers can use the Sony CBK-
WA101to wirelessly transfer video and audio to a tablet or smartphone for monitoring, and also to a computer for editing with proxy editing files. You can use WiFi or cellular via LTE and 3G /4G to use the CBK-WA101.
With the Sony CA-FB70 optical fiber adapter, or the Sony CA-TX70 digital triax camera adapter, the PMW-400 can also be used for studio use, such as live or pre-taped broadcasts.
So, as you can see by the specs, the Sony PMW-400 is an excellent shoulder-mount camera for ENG, interviews, run-and-gun, reality, sports and documentaries. Even with the rise of affordable cameras and backpack journalists (aka, the one-man or one-woman-band), there is still a need for shoulder-mount HD cameras. 4K is coming, but we’re still a little ways off, so 1080i/p and 720p HD is still the name of the game.